For Volunteers Week, we’d like to introduce you to a few of our wonderful volunteers that are all an incredible support to Conwy Mind. Today, we’re going to introduce you to Aled Edwards who has volunteered with us for one year but, already made a huge impact.
Unfortunately, Aled has struggled with his own mental health, which ultimately led him to volunteering at Conwy Mind. Looking back, Aled had unknowingly struggled with his mental health most of his life, the signs were always there. He found himself getting angry, self-harming and becoming distant and withdrawn from people and social events. He had built up negative beliefs about himself and in October 2021 he sadly attempted to take his own life. Thankfully, Aled made it through this tough time and with the help of his amazing wife, children, and friends he took the steps into getting the help he needed.
Rugby had always been a huge part of Aled’s life, and he noticed the decline in his mental health when he stopped playing 5 years ago. Aled wanted somewhere to go where he could talk about his mental health experience and that’s when his idea of the walking rugby group popped into his head!
In July 2022 Aled approached us here at Conwy Mind with his idea and we were more than happy to support him! Since then, he has been running weekly Walking Rugby Groups at Llangefni Rugby Club to support people’s mental health.
“the support and encouragement I received was fantastic. Conwy Mind helped me gain the knowledge through training to help encourage people to seek help or talk about their feelings while keeping active. It would have been easy to let this illness consume me however I wanted to use my negative experience to support others in seeking help either through the NHS or the incredible charity that is Conwy Mind.”
Every Monday, rain or shine Aled is there at the rugby club to run his group and support people that need it. He is there to listen, to share experiences and offer guidance and support. Aled admits at first it was a daunting prospect having people turning up and looking to him for advice, but what he loves about volunteering is that it has given him the confidence to speak to new people which has also helped in other aspects of his life.
When asked what his favourite part about volunteering is, Aled said
“it has to be the feeling like I’m making a difference. Even if only one person turns up its heartwarming knowing I’ve made a difference in that person’s life.”
Aled is a huge support to Conwy Mind; not only with his volunteering but he is now also taking on a fundraising challenge for us! On June 10th Aled and his friend are taking on a hike across Tryfan and Snowdon to raise funds for Conwy Mind, if you’re able to donate to his campaign please head here.
We can’t thank Aled enough for his ongoing support over the past year, he has come out of a very dark place and turned it around completely to help those who are facing similar experiences. A real-life superhero who should be very proud of himself.